Contributors to this thread:
Climber or Saddle?
For mobile setups, what do you prefer? It seems like many are moving to saddles but I'm curious if you've tried a saddle and then decided you liked your climber setup better?
Saddle. They have come a long way. I suggest a 2-panel version. Check out Latitude Outdoors. https://www.latitudeoutdoors.com/
I love my saddle. It’s much more mobile as you stated. It’s very comfortable too. With that said, if I’m hunting where I don’t pack out deer, I usually use my summit viper. I’m still quite a bit quicker with it. Plus it’s primo comfortable. Plus it’s what I’ve done for 20 years. Habits are hard to break.
Mark, I’ll mail you a saddle to try out. Keep it as ling as you need to decide if it’s for you. I’ll be out of service for two weeks after about 11 am. But, I’ll get it to you after thanksgiving. If you are interested. Just drop me a pm and I’ll get back ahold of you when I get through with my hunting.
I did. I gave the saddle a real honest shot but ultimately went back to my Summit climber.
Can’t beat the stealth of a saddle. Had a summit climber. Kinda clunky when slipping into the bedding areas. I can also hunt any tree with my saddle. Limbs or no limbs.
Beast or lone wolf custom gear stands are sweet
Saddle. I’ll never lug a climber again
For me saddle>hang on>climber
My personal preference after 17 years of mobile hunting. To appease a combination of stealth, being able to hunt any tree, and effort to use, and ability to stay hidden
Saddle for the last season and a half. Got in a tree Friday at 6:10 and climbed down at 5:20 that afternoon with the exception of a one hour sit under the tree and a quick nap. I’ve enjoyed mine, but will be looking at mods for big guys before next year.
I am also a saddle fan. Once your work the kinks out of your own system....danged hard to be BUT Im a pretty lean guy and none of the saddles I have used have been comfortable for extended periods of time. About 4 hours is all I can handle without a long break.
I’m 6’4” and 275#, so they work for big guys. I think a lot of the comfort is in minor setup tweaks. I’m gonna look at a 2 panel and a back strap before next year
We have similar builds Shiloh. When saddle hunting are you always "standing" to an extent? Meaning....do you ever get to actually rest your legs?
Very rarely, but I am actually resting them a little now. I let some slack in my tether and sit down just like I’m sitting in a chair and lean forward on the tether. Most of the time I’m standing. I am going to try some knee pads and see how they do at some point.
When you are leaning in the saddle, half your weight is on your butt so neither legs or ass get fatigued very quickly. I never sit in the saddle with knees against the tree (not comfortable for me) but I will stand on the platform and lean against the tree occasionally.
Lightweight hang on with a quick attach bracket!
How is the saddle on the lower back?
I never found a stand to be great on the lower back. Saddle no worse. The back strap makes them primo on the lower back, but only had one this year and never sat long enough to need it. So still haven't used it other than testing.
I'm very interested to hear how you like the saddle for November hunting Adam. I still love my Lone Wolf and 4 sticks for mobile hunting. I don't feel the need to switch to the saddle.
I'm 58 and started using a saddle. I like it a lot. I broke my back a few yr's ago & find the saddle is much easier on my back. Killed an adult doe on public land in October.
Same as Midwest….. I am not comfortable with my knees against the tree that’s why I thought about trying some knee pads. You can also easily shift your weight back and forth to take pressure off of your feet. I like the way that you can hide behind the tree as well. No option to do this in a lock on. Saddles are not the end all, but I have been surprised with how much I have enjoyed mine.
I'm 60 years old with 3 stints in my heart I can climb a tree (Effortlessly) with my lone wolf sit & climb stand. 35 years ago when the original sneaky sack came out I bought one & it was great especially for back woods hunting. But in my older age give me a climber without question.
How long does it take from getting to your tree, taking everything off your back, out of your pack, silently. Ascend the tree and have an arrow nocked and ready with a saddle?
I haven’t timed it, so I’m not sure. Probably about the same as a climber. The difference is there is much less bulk and a little less weight depending on your climbing method. I’m using wild edge steps and I am going to research some other options.
I’ll take the summit if I can .. long crappy walk or rushed saddle ..saddle is my last choice
So, I dont think there is a "correct" answer here. I spent about 2 decades hunting almost entirely with my climber moving all over the place. This is season 2 with my saddle. I used the climber 1x last year and havent taken it out this year at all.
I hunt public or public functioning land like 99.9% of the time (here if it's not posted it's legal to hunt, so there are some areas that function as public despite technically being private). Stands being stolen is a real issue if you are going to leave one, and I dont like "advertising" to others that "this is a good spot"... So I havent used fixed position stands left in the woods for years.
The climber was awesome. Frankly, if I was going to do an all day sit I'd consider it again - I do think it wins the comfort contest, at least with my trusty old summit bushmaster - the seat on that thing felt like sitting in a recliner, leaning back against the tree. I can also get from the forest floor to knocking an arrow to start a hunt FASTER by about 5' I'd estimate with my climber. I had decades of practice with my climber so I got pretty darn quick with it.
The saddle is a smidge slower to get to arrow nocking, but, I can do it quieter, and in almost any tree that I choose to climb. The saddle is quite comfortable, and the whole "hide behind the tree as a deer approaches" thing is very legit, amazing how well that can work.
It has a learning curve. Some guys seem to get a saddle, climb a tree and all is perfect. But it feels like the exception in my experience. Most people seem to have a curve where they try different climbing systems, platforms or ring of steps systems, different methods of getting gear up in the tree (extra sticks etc)... and I do find that for some, the "leaning back" in a sort of perpetual trust fall takes some acclimating as does the simple difference of setting up on the "wrong" side of the tree compared to how most folks set up with a climber.
My point, is that I'm convinced at this point, (only about 2 years in), that the saddle is better for highly mobile hunting than a climber, but also that it's not always a fast and easy transition, and that one making the switch needs to be ready to experiment and play with different approaches - expect a solid learning curve.
But overall, if you are highly mobile, the saddle wins.
Thank you Will. That’s a very good explanation. I always thought I was faster, quieter, and more mobile in my climber… But there have been times that I had to climb crooked trees or face the wrong direction in the tree. And I wouldn’t have that issue with a Saddle. I guess I would have to try out the climbing system on a saddle… And see what it is actually like.
I have always been able to get from my tree to Arrow knocked in about eight minutes. And I’m just wondering if I can achieve that same time, and quietness, and effort with a Saddle. Thank you so much for your explanation.
Saddle for sure. Killed three bucks in three states all on public. WV, MD, PA. All in the mountains. Im pumped. Having a dream season. Thanks Tethrd!!! This is my first year using a saddle. There's no better way. Once you get everything dialed it's amazing. Good luck to all!!!
Very good assessment Will! The leaning back part is real. I have hunted exclusively out of my saddle for a season and a half and I still have to check and re-check my connections 4 or 5 times and then ease back to make sure everything holds!!! Once I've been there for a few minutes I am all good.
Savage River State Forest, MD
Cooper's Rocks State forest, WV
Forbes State forest, PA
Savage River State Forest, MD
Cooper's Rocks State forest, WV
Forbes State forest, PA
It is also more steady to shoot from a saddle. Almost more steady than shooting from the ground as you have two anchor points. Your feet to the platform or step and your tether. This creates a very steady shot. Also way easier to shoot 360 around you. It's very sketchy shooting behind you out of a climber, at least to me. I can set up a little quicker with my climber but it's noisier. I always seem to clank the top and bottom together at some point. Way more limited on tree selection with climber. Another plus is you can just leave screw in steps or a climbing stick in multiple locations or even if your coming back to same tree and get set up very quickly. Quicker than a climber in same situation. As far as comfort there are four different positions I use in saddle to keep from getting uncomfortable.
Hate to keep adding on but bucks have spotted me a lot in the climber. Kinda like your exposed just sticking out there. Being able to put the tree between yourself and the deer is a huge advantage. I also where the Sitka mountain pants as they have built in knee pads and work for me. Not sure there worth the $200 though.
Impressive Graham! I have spent several days at Cooper’s Rock chasing turkeys. Pretty place!
Thank you. Yes it's an awesome place. Was lucky to get these bucks in Cooper's last two years.
If you get a saddle, i believe kneepads are mandatory. I use Alta's , with the hard plastic shell on them. Without the shell, it makes it rough on knees. I have been a saddle hunter since 2010. Use the Cruzr XC, Wild Edge steps and a Ring of steps on the tree. Cant beat for mobility. I also use the Back strap. Still have plenty of hang on fixed stands and will use my summit climber occasionally.